from "Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland," by Lady Francesca Speranza Wilde
St. Brighid's Church
AT one time a certain leper came to St. Bridget to beg a cow from her.
"Which would you prefer?" said the holy Bridget, "to be healed of your disease or to have the cow?"
"I would be healed," he answered.
Then she touched him, and he became whole and went away rejoicing.
After this Bridget's fame spread all over Ireland; and a man of the Britons, and his son, came to be healed; but she was at Mass, and sent to them to wait till Mass was over.
Now the Britons are a hasty people, and the man said," You healed your own people yesterday and you shall heal us to-day." Then Bridget came forth and prayed over them, and they were healed.
Another time, two lepers came to beg, and Bridget said, "I have but this one cow--take it between you and go in peace." But one leper was proud, and made answer: "1 shall divide my goods with no man. Give me the cow and I shall go." And she gave it to him. Then the other leper said, "Give me your prayers, holy Bridget, I ask no more." And she gave him her blessing. And as he turned to depart a man came in, and offered a cow as a present to the holy woman. "Now the Lord has blessed you," she said to the humble leper. "Take this cow and depart to your home."
So the man drove time cow before him, and presently came up with the proud leper just at the ford of the river. "Cross you first," said the proud leper, "there is not room for two," and the humble leper crossed in safety with his cow; but when the other entered the ford, the river rose, and he and his cow were carried away and drowned, for the blessing of St. Bridget. was not on him.
Another time, two lepers came to be healed, and Bridget ordered one of them to wash the other; which he did, and the man was healed. "Now," she said, "do to your comrade as he has done to you; wash him with water that he may be made clean of his leprosy."
"Oh, veiled woman," he answered, "why should I, that am clean now in body and limb, touch this filthy leper of the blue-grey skin? Ask me not to do this thing." Then Bridget took water and washed time leper herself. Immediately the other who had been healed, cried out, "A fire is raging under my skin;" and the disease came again on him worse than ever. Thus was he punished for his pride.
The lark is sacred to St. Bridget because its song woke her every morning to prayers, when she had service for the women who were her converts. The influence of St. Bridget remains a permanent power in Ireland even to this day, and she is much feared by the enemy of souls and the ill-doer. When Earl Strongbow was dying, he affirmed that he saw St. Bridget approaching his bed, and she struck him on the foot, and the wound she gave him mortified, and of this he died. This happened six hundred years after Bridget's death.
St. Bridget, throughout her long life, held the highest position and dignity in the Irish Church. She erected a temple in Kildare, ordained bishops, and was head and chief of all the sacred virgins. She also held equal rank with the archbishop; if he had an episcopal chair (cathedra episcopalis), so St. Bridget had a virginal chair (cathedra puellaris), and was pre-eminent above all the abbesses of Ireland, or of the Scots, for sanctity and power.